Monday, September 26, 2011

Twins, babies, marriage.

Above: Hannah carrying her twins in the Moby wrap.

I love my baby twins! Whenever Hannah brings them over I start talking in a high-pitched voice and generally don't stop. They're just so adorable and very new still. They move and sound and sleep like newborns!

A friend and I were talking today as we watched our four children (each) run around the children's museum at the Gateway. We both felt done. I never thought the desire for another baby would wane, or fade, or ever be gone. I didn't think it possible. But it has faded substantially. Of course, the curiosity of what another one of mine would be like is still there, but my arms do not hunger like they used to. I love babies still, every last inch of them. It has taken a long time to get here, but I feel good. I feel full. I feel used up, in a good way.

Meanwhile, my sister is going out of her mind trying to manage her household going from one child to having three! I'm glad I have room in my arms to help out when I can!

I saw this picture on Jake's computer today:

He and I. He asked me if I remembered who we used to be "back then". I started crying... Yes, yes, of course I remember. We have come so many miles and been through so much together since then. The change and the growth and the joy and the pain is almost too much to think about. What a great life this is. And I'm so glad I can share it with him.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Photos.

Where are these girls' parents? Do their father and mother KNOW how infinitely important they are? Do they have enough people in their lives that love them? Will they have the things they need in their life?

It's a lot of pressure... I hope we measure up.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Waddle and Bite.

Some days... I mean, most days... are so hard... I don't know how women have done this for thousands upon thousands of years. There are days when I just don't think I can do it anymore. Of course, it ebbs and flows. Of course I am grateful. Of course I know I am giving my children my love and time, as much of it as I can, and I know it's good for them.

But holy cow.

My brain is not my own. My time is not my own. My sanity is not my own. It's getting drop kicked and right-hooked.

Most days I wait for the nanny by the front window. And she never comes. I stare at the wall asking it for help and it doesn't budge :) I call my mom or my sisters and ask them how THEY survived or are surviving. Sometimes I call friends and we dream of peace. Of quiet. Of a tranquil beach holiday. Of help.

But there's something we have in common, mothers. No matter how much we'd love for things to be easier, for there to be easy answers and formulas that worked day after day, for our children to handle things reasonably, we ALL wouldn't have it any other way. We all are so deeply, irrevocably in love with our babies.

Like, today. Tada walks around like she owns the place. It's all about her. She's constantly hitting and loves to sink her teeth DEEP into whatever part of my skin is available. And if it's not available, she goes through clothing. She does the funniest fake laugh, it kills me every time.

When I was trying to get some work done and Tada came up to me and screamed (her normal mode of communication, because hey, it works!) and tugged at my pants. She wanted more goldfish crackers in her snack cup. She still had her snuggly ducky jammies on and she was waddling around, with a dribble of drool on her bottom lip, messy hair, big blue/gray eyes. I couldn't HELP but smile. It came with no notice, like a reaction. An impulse.

I truly, truly love my life. With all the tears and frustration and ridiculousness, I love it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Matilda -- Bridals.

I photographed a bride! That was a first (besides my sister). She was so so so easy to photograph. Here is Emi in her mom's house the day before her wedding.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Afternoon Hiking.

Seasons are changing: leaves, air, sunrise. 

We heard the mountain cup its mouth and shout our name, so we started walking.

The little chickens fell in the stream with their clothes on and hiked back down in their undies. No one around seemed to mind. They smiled and kept their thoughts to themselves.

There is something about taking all my babies and husband by the hand and walking into a canyon. We create a temporary world for ourselves there sitting on those unfamiliar rocks by the lake, listening to the earth breathing in and out.

Change brings me both comfort and fear. A blank canvas stretching out into our future. And with it comes so much responsibility.

But here we are, under the same roof, hearts beating imperceptibly under our quilts. Trying and failing and having a few successes along the way... Changing, growing and enjoying ourselves immensely.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Melancholy for the past...


This one's blurry but so so pretty (and mischievous).

I'm in denial. Denial that the baby of the family is older now. She's practically a kid. She wears grown-up jammies and eats her food with a spoon by herself. She stopped wanting to be rocked months ago and now falls asleep on her own. In her crib next to Lillie's bed. She points to her diaper when it needs to be changed. If I have my shoes on, she rushes to get hers on because she knows I'm going somewhere. 

She's afraid of dogs and chickens. She is a slow talker and only says a few words. She has her own method of communication. She notices everything. If you open a soda, she's on you like glue. If you are in the vicinity of the kitchen, she's quicker than a sheepdog and forces you to peruse the pantry with her on your hip. Grace and Ruby try to carry her around and she's so huge and long against them. She's off the charts for height and weight, right on track for a Smylie baby. 

She brushes her own teeth. She takes one nap and it can't be too long or she will fight her bedtime. I'm sure she'll give up her nap in the spring. She's pretty safe in the bath now. She resists my neck attacks and tummy feasts. She makes mad faces on purpose, to illicit a reaction, to manipulate, and she's just as emotional and objective as the manipulators above her.

My hands are too full to reflect at length, but when I have a chance to think about how old she and the other girls are becoming, I freeze. She's my baby. And time went by me like a jet airplane. What am I left with? Messy hair, a confused look on my face and melancholy for the past. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I am horrible! I am barely able to recover from the 9-11 shows on TV today and I realized I forgot to take a Sunday photo again!

But I am posting these photos of Lillie from her first day of PEEESKAUUUU (preschool). She goes over to my friend's house where my friend teaches her and her own daughter and nephew preschool. It's perfect for me and perfect for her. So relaxed, so unofficial. I have trouble with official...

So here she is on her first day. She was so excited. She gets so incredibly excited about what she learns. She begs to go every day.

She is so beautiful here in these photos. Her spirit, her brain, her cells, every single effort she has goes toward staying inside her skin. It takes all of her, daily, to stay in there. To act her age. To be a big girl. She's a little Hulk, her episodes lessening these days but definitely still there.

I live for her. I have no choice, really. She demands it and I acquiesce. But I don't want to change it. Because even on the hard days, I feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be. I'm the corner piece, waiting for the rest of the puzzle to fall into place. I'm right where she put me.

My little Lillie. I'll never let you go, Lill.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Snowbird (and Monday Photos) (and Somalia).

We went up to Snowbird today. After a weekend of everyone being sick, we needed to get out. The mountains here are beautiful, breathtaking, they will knock you down. We had a great time. The canyon puts me in a trance and I think I captured it with the last few.

Funny things that happened this weekend:

-- I was squished in bed at 4am between puking Ruby and whining-for-a-movie Lillie. Jake was sick and sleeping on the couch.
-- Jake was laying in bed with Ruby and she threw up on him.
-- Grace threw up at school. Once in the wastebasket, once in a cup and twice in the bathroom before I got a call from the school! She was mortified.
-- Jake and I watched TV the other night in silence. I could barely laugh I was so sick. It was really funny, though, because it was the closest we both had been to being in a coma together.

I really hate it when people complain about being sick, don't you?

Anyway, girls are back in school tomorrow... Fall is in the air, we could feel it. A few of my tomato plants that have hung on forever before ripening are going orange now. I've got perfectly ripe peaches on my counter (from Costco), the mornings are a bit crispy and I'm craving hot drinks. Being up in the mountains today, it's hard to believe that in a few months there will be feet upon feet of snow up there!

One more thing: my whole body aches for the people of Somalia. Please, please, if you haven't donated, it's easy. Just text SURVIVE to 20222 to make a $10 donation. Or you can visit this site and lots of others: Cnn: ways you can help.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Videos the girls LOVE.

Stomach flu has hit a few of the kids. Hopefully it's over! There's nothing quite like pulling Lillie out of her bed in the middle of the night caked in a wet substance that is not urine... but there's also nothing like her laying beside me (clean) in a lethargic stupor, holding onto me (and Dad) for her life. She's such a soft snuggly little thing.

The girls are home from school today and have been on this site a lot:

Here are a few of our favorites: